"They're just playing to their fan base, and they're just basically trying to use the anthem as fake patriotism, nationalism, scaring people", Kerr said.
The policy forbids players from sitting or taking a knee on the field during the anthem but allows them to stay in the locker room.
"NFL players need to take a lesson from King James, who obviously understands that fans don't have a problem with athletes speaking up; they just have a problem with them kneeling down". He says the new policy is robbing players of their freedom of speech. "It's about peacefully protesting". Our leadership in the National Basketball Association understands when the NFL players were kneeling, they were kneeling to protest police brutality, to protest racial inequality. They weren't disrespecting the flag or the military, but our president chose to make it about that.
His teammate, Chris Long, wrote on Twitter that the new rules represented "a fear of a diminished bottom line" and "also fear of a president turning his base against a corporation". Starting with the upcoming season, players will be required to stand for the anthem if they're on the field.
Donald Trump unhappy with new National Football League rules on player protests
Add Donald Trump as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Donald Trump news, video, and analysis from ABC News. Players began kneeling during the Stars and Stripes during 2016 in protest at police brutality and racial inequality.
President Trump responded with support for the NFL's decision to ban kneeling, saying on Fox & Friends that "I don't think people should be staying in the locker rooms, but still I think it's good". In September 2017, Trump asked at a rally in Alabama, "wouldn't you love to see one of the National Football League owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say "Get that son of a b-- off the field right now"?"
Sachs argued that this pressure from Trump and Pence brings into play the players' constitutional right to have their speech not censored by the government.
"... Everybody is not going to agree on things, everybody is not going to have the same opinion on things, so just because somebody disagrees on something, an issue, with something that's going on in this country, that they should pack up and leave - that's absurd, in my opinion".
NBC's Craig Melvin said a former player told him "players are already talking about other ways in which they can protest". Just Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks released a statement which called upon the Milwaukee Police Department to make change in the wake of player Sterling Brown's arrest and tasing incident in January. Golden State Warriors coach, Steve Kerr, has since reacted.